I promised an update to the May rankings and it’s here! When ranking 125+ players (130 last time, down to 125 here), I obviously don’t have up-to-minute stats and performance memorized on everyone so while I felt pretty good about the groupings everyone was in, there were some individual rankings that needed work. I also added another tier at the top for the stone cold fantasy aces. It’s a tight group, but it gets them separation from the must-starts because I think people still bug out when seeing Chris Sale and Tyson Ross in the same tier and I understand that.
I do think the Must-Start tier is important, though, because one of the unintended consequences of the information age for fantasy baseball is the overwhelming desire to see every start as actionable. Some guys you just have to start through the ebbs and flows of a season, even after a few clunky starts. Not every bad start is the beginning of the end for a pitcher. Conversely, every gem from some 4th or 5th starter isn’t the emergence of a new stud.
I can’t imagine it’d really be possible to do, but I’d love to see a study on team ERAs in fantasy pre- and post-internet. I’m sure pre-internet saw established guys given a longer leash as there were often weeks in between updates (the first fantasy league I was ever in started in 1989 and ran stats every other week) and similar time periods between pickups. Anyway, here’s the update! As always, heed the tier over the # ranking and let me know what you think in the comments down below!
The tiers are as follows:
#1s (13 SPs) – The true aces of fantasy baseball.
Must Start (22 SPs) – Should be pretty obvious, but these are the guys who always start. Again, it isn’t just the very best guys. There are second and third tier arms in terms of market value that I’d start every time out. They don’t have an obvious split or weakness that would give you a better chance at picking off their poor starts. Some of them are “No Coors Field”-types, but it’s predominantly set it and forget it.
Usually Start (20 SPs) – If “No Coors Field” is 30% with the MS group, it’s more like 60-70% with this group. You need to find a reason to sit them right now in most formats. You might feel like you can spot them properly, but we’re just not that precise in identifying when a solid arm will falter. These guys are good enough to thwart any opponent even on something less than their best day or they could get smacked by a weaker opponent. If you’re rostering them, you should probably be starting them.
Spot Start (50 SPs) – Flawed talents. A lot of these guys are on the cusp of or have been in the Usually Start tier, but currently you’re looking to curate their starts a bit where you can. These guys might also be US tier arms here temporarily. Pay very close attention to gamelogs of pitchers, get a feel for how they arrived at their bottom line numbers. Not all ERAs are created equally and that’s why it’s not a gauge for future production, especially in small samples.
Could Start (20 SPs) – I know many of you are dealing with some brutal pitching staff conditions right now after drafting a rotation you thought would be a strength, so you might find yourself in this tier a little more than you’d like. There is some talent to be plucked and the right two-start week could really set you up. This is essentially the Spot Star tier for single leagues or super-deep mixers (16+ teams).
Don’t Start (24 SPs) – You don’t want to be here. This is when you start looking at middle relievers as the better option. You’ll see what I mean.
Injured (21 SPs) – I find it hard/worthless to rank injured guys. I just think the outlook on injured players varies so much person-to-person that you can’t really use an injured player’s ranking for anything. I will identify the tier I’d put the injured guy in when healthy, though.
Minors (9 SPs) – These guys aren’t in the majors. You needed that explanation, didn’t you?
Please leave your questions and comments below!
|81||Michael Soroka – DL’d 5/17||SS||NL||ATL|
|NR||Hyun Jin Ryu||IN/US||NL||LAD|